Tuesday, 23 October 2012

AI's trade body bemoans the planning system

Whilst to local people the odds seem heavily skewed in favour of the developer, the Mineral Products Association (MPA), on the other hand, laments the lack of progress in the planning system and the effort it takes to secure permission for sand and gravel quarries.

In its new Annual Mineral Planning Survey for 2010 the MPA, the trade association for aggregate companies, "is calling on the Government to overcome the inertia in the planning system". It claims:
Less than 50% of sand and gravel reserves have been replenished in the last 10 years [Maybe because the demand is only half what it was 10 years ago?]
Sand and gravel approvals took an average of 28 months in 2010 [Maybe because the environmental impact needs to be carefully assessed, before an operator tears into the countryside?] 
There has been no appreciable improvement in the time it takes to obtain planning permission since 1996 [Maybe because quarries are as damaging now as they were in 1996?] 
In 2010, only 9 planning applications for new extraction were submitted by members, compared with 40 in 1996 [Maybe something to do with demand again, as well as profit margins, and secondary and recycled aggregates?]
The MPA complains “It’s not surprising that the planning applications aren’t coming forward. Whilst the overall approval rate of applications is adequate, they take too long, they cost too much – between £100k and £800k - and lengthy pre-application discussions don’t help.” “With too few plans, low landbanks, diminishing replenishment rates, increasing costs, and planning inertia fuelling uncertainty we are storing up supply problems for the recovery. Lack of demand is masking underlying supply problems for the future”.

Representing its minerally-minded members, the MPA would be inclined to say all that, but, it is assuming that demand for sand and gravel will recover, and for the last 20 years there has been no such indication.